Project to help farmers identify fake seeds
Posted Wednesday, March 13 2013 at 00:00
Ugandan farmers are the targetted beneficiaries of a five-year project that aims at increasing their use of fertilisers and improved seeds so as to boost their productivity.
Known as Feed The Future Agriculture Inputs Activity, it will initially work in five pilot districts: Bushenyi, Iganga, Masaka, Mubende and Gulu, and then expanded to include 33 others. It is funded to the tune of $7.5m (Shs19.8b) through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Over the period, up to 2017, the Agriculture Inputs Activity (AIA) will work to improve supply chain management, decrease the incidence of counterfeit fertilisers and seeds and raise awareness on the benefits of using high quality inputs. Innovations that will be used include an SMS verification system that will enable farmers to know whether the inputs they are buying are genuine and not counterfeit.
The AIA has been aligned to the Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. The DSIP sets the development agenda for the agriculture sector, from 2010/2011 to 2014/2015, based on the National Development Plan and a draft National Agriculture Policy. The stated objective is to increase incomes and improve the livelihoods of rural farmers as well as the food and nutrition security. As such, AIA, together with similar projects, will cover coffee, maize and beans.
Officiating at the launch of the Activity in Kampala last week, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture said, “DSIP is to ensure that the farmer moves from just being subsistence to commercial and that is why in developing it, we looked at the mix of enterprises that fit each zone.” Therefore, AIA would help in achieving that goal.
At the end of the project, it is envisioned that the sales of the beneficiary agro-dealers will have gone up by 200 per cent, there will 200 “verifiable” agro-input products on the market and 44,000 hectares of land under improved ways of production such better seeds and high quality fertiliser. In addition, an estimated investment of about $12m (Shs31.8m) in the sector.